Things you should know about cyberbullying

When we were children, bullying took place at school and was nothing a big audience could take part in. Today it’s different.

Happening in a digital world, bullying can have dramatic consequences. Internet is a powerful bullying tool: Humiliation via photos or comments can be visible to hundreds of people and bullying doesn’t stop after kids go home from school. It’s often unclear who’s behind online bullying which makes it difficult for grown-ups to take action.

We at watAgame are constantly in contact with kids and their parents regarding cyberbullying. Here are the most common concerns parents have. Hope you find our solutions helpful!

Picture by rose-lily, user of goSupermodel.

Picture by rose-lily, user of goSupermodel.

My child posted a picture in social media and got cruel comments like “you’re fat and ugly”. Is this cyberbullying? What can I do?

Cyberbullying is normally characterized by repeated cruelty. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a one-time joke: What counts is that your kid was humiliated every time someone read this comment.  You should help your kid to contact the social media administrators and have the comment removed.

For example, on watAgame’s social media services Momio and goSupermodel, we have community managers who can find out if bullying has been more constant. The community managers can give warnings and – if necessary – ban users who bully.

How do you confront another parent?

If your kid is being bullied by someone they know, you should talk to the bully’s parents. Try to be neutral and explain what has happened. State your goal and make it clear that you want to stop the bullying.

Don’t forget to let the other parent talk too – you will have to work together. Create a plan and follow it up. If it doesn’t work out, talk to a teacher or to another third party.

How do I know if my child is a bully?

Be aware if you notice concealing behaviour when your child is online. Find out for example if your kid has several accounts in one service.

Notice behaviour changes, like moodiness, in general. If school work starts suffering, bullying can be the explanation.

Getting help is important not only for your child but also for those children who might be bullied.

How can I help?

In our experience, most children are ashamed to tell their parents that they are being bullied.  Thus it’s a good idea to teach your child the importance of telling you – even if it may feel uncomfortable.

If you find out that there’s bullying going on, it’s time to do something about it!  First of all let your child know that it is not their fault. Also emphasize that responding to cyberbullying often just makes the situation worse.  Work out a plan together, inform the community manager in the social network and follow up. Informing a school teacher or nurse is also a good idea.

The younger the kids are, the sooner grown-ups should step in. There is no reason to wait for it to get better.

Has your kid been bullied online? What action did you take? Discuss in the comments!

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About the author:

Sara Eichenauer, watAgame

Sara Eichenauer worked as a German Community Manager at watAgame 2008-2015. She worked with online communities in Sweden and Germany for several years. Sara has three kids and is convinced that social media for kids is the best environment to teach our children about online behavior and safety in a fun and monitored way. She has a master’s degree in marketing.